63 years without a parking ticket until now. My poor dad.
- Credit: Archant
My dad is essentially law-abiding.
He'll cause trouble where he can – of course, he will. He's my dad.
He likes nothing more than to push a domino and watch it cause almighty havoc all over the house.
But, he's a decent sort when it comes down to it.
He doesn't want trouble.
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Last week, however, he found himself right in the middle of it.
My parents run a business in Bury St Edmunds town centre which has one parking space.
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A disabled customer arrived so Dad moved his car onto the road to allow the customer to park closer to the office.
The customer duly left and Dad, being 80, forgot all about his car being parked out on the road.
The traffic warden, however, did not forget.
Dad raised almighty havoc with her, I gather, but to no avail and he now faces his first parking ticket since he started driving in 1954.
This is a pretty impressive 63 year clean bill of health on the parking front that I thought worthy of note.
I have personally had several parking tickets.
Many years ago, when I lived in central Ipswich, the traffic warden used to wait outside my house every morning, ready to slam a ticket on my car if I was even one minute after the 9am that cars in that street became liable to parking offences.
(I don't know if that's the case now but I recall no residents' parking permits in those days.)
Another ticket was given in Fulham on Boxing Day when I was watching my team at Craven Cottage. I had partly parked on the grass verge to allow other cars more room to pass – as had numerous other football supporters who were watching the match that day.
We all got ticketed. A whole row! Apparently, it is an offence to park on the verge, even if blocking the road is the alternative. Happy Christmas!
I did once appeal successfully, in Sheffield, because my ticket had blown onto the floor of the car and after I supplied the ticket, I was excused.
Longer ago I remember my grandfather engaging in a debate with parking officials in North Norfolk which lasted years. Eventually, they let him off – I can't recall the main tenets of his argument but I do know I wasn't entirely sure he was in the right, although he was absolutely adamant. Anyhow, I suspect they were ultimately worn down by his persistence. He was a very determined man.
My dad, I think, will pay up because he is bang to rights on this one, but I do wonder if anyone has any sympathy for him, bearing in mind his previous 'good character'. He has posed for this photograph – 'I shan't smile as this isn't very funny!' – to see if he can whip up a bit of support.
Would there be parking anarchy without traffic wardens? Do we really need them? I suppose we do, but I always get the sense that it is a job for people with a larger degree than average of schadenfreude, don't you?
Do you have any sympathy for my dad? Do write and tell me at email@example.com or at 11 Woolhall Street, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP33 1LA
Does nobody care?
Al Gore's new film, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power is an important one.
No one can watch it and still believe there is any doubt whatsoever that global warming exists and poses a major threat to our children's future.
The nonsense peddled by 'deniers' is dispensed with in seconds by the film and no media organisation worth its salt should ever concern itself with the usual convention we journalists are all taught to abide by - to give equal weight to opposing points of view.
With global warming, there is what is correct and there is what people want us to think because it is better for their business.
There is what is the best course of action - doing all one can to reduce one's carbon footprint - and there is the arrogant behaviour of idiots who pretend the problem isn't there so that they can do what they like.
The film advocates renewable energy as a long term solution and asks all those who watch it to pass the message on. So, I have. And I can't help wondering, as this this issue is indeed the most important of our age, why, at the special showing of the film I attended on Friday night, there were only 19 people there.